(The Center Square) – Missouri Attorney General Eric Schmitt won the Republican nomination for the U.S. Senate on Tuesday in convincing fashion, doubling the number of votes of his next two challengers.
Schmitt finished atop the 21-candidate field with U.S. Congresswoman Vicky Hartzler and former Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens as his closest competitors. With 95% of the precincts reporting, Schmitt had 46% of the Republican vote, Hartzler had 22%, and Greitens had 19%.
In mid-July, Schmitt touted a poll by the Tarrance Group showing him with a four-point lead (28%) in a survey of 600 likely Republican voters. Hartzler had 24% and Greitens had 16%.
During a victory celebration near his home in a suburb of St. Louis, Schmitt thanked his Republican opponents for their public service in the state but didn’t mention any by name. He also took a swipe at his opponent, Trudy Busch Valentine, the daughter of billionaire beer brewer August Busch Jr., who won the Democratic nomination for Senate.
“I grew up five miles from here,” Schmitt said, noting his father worked the midnight shift at Anheuser-Busch. “And not too far from here, I worked at Grant’s Farm (owned by Anheuser-Busch) while in college, giving tours and taking out the trash. And don’t we need a little bit more of that in Washington? I don’t come from billions. I come from Bridgeton,” Schmitt said, referring to his hometown that was mostly bought out for new runways at the airport.
Hartzler announced she conceded to Schmitt and pledged her support.
“We fought hard, left no stone unturned, but unfortunately the outcome wasn’t what we hoped for,” Hartzler said. “I just got off the phone with Eric Smith and congratulated him on his victory and pledged my support so we can keep Missouri in Republican hands by defeating Trudy Busch Valentine in November.”
Former President Donald Trump called Schmitt to congratulate him, according to statements made by Schmitt’s campaign to several media outlets. On Monday, Trump announced he was endorsing “Eric” in Missouri’s Republican race for the Senate nomination.
Greitens thanked supporters, attending a St. Louis venue to monitor election results. Greitens didn’t concede to Schmitt, whom he called a RINO (Republican In Name Only) earlier in the race.
Schmitt pledged he would not become a Washington insider if elected to the Senate.
“I’m not interested in being invited to all the D.C. cocktail parties or being the most popular person in Washington,” Schmitt said. “I’m not going there to go along, to get along. I want to be your Senator to push back against the wokeness and the weakness that is undermining America.”